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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian warships resume patrols off Somali coast

RIA Novosti

09:11 08/10/2009 VLADIVOSTOK, October 8 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian Pacific Fleet task force has resumed anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden after a five-day visit to the Seychelles, a fleet spokesman said on Thursday.

The task force - comprising the Admiral Tributs destroyer with two helicopters, a salvage tug, a tanker, and a naval infantry unit - escorts commercial ships, conducts aerial reconnaissance, and searches suspected pirate vessels.

"The Pacific Fleet's task force finished a visit to the Seychelles late on Tuesday and has already resumed patrols in the Gulf of Aden. It will soon escort another convoy of commercial ships from various countries protecting them from pirate attacks," Capt. 1st Rank Roman Martov said.

During the visit to the Seychelles, commanding officers from the task force met with the country's president, James Michel, who praised the efficiency of the Russian Navy in conducting anti-piracy missions.

Russia joined international anti-piracy efforts off Somali coast in October 2008.

Three Russian warships have so far participated in the mission - the Baltic Fleet's Neustrashimy (Fearless) frigate, and the Pacific Fleet's Admiral Vinogradov and Admiral Panteleyev destroyers.

The Pacific Fleet's warships have escorted over 100 Russian and foreign commercial ships and prevented several pirate attacks since January 2009.

The fleet will send a fourth task force, comprising a missile destroyer, two support ships and a naval infantry unit, to the Gulf of Aden after the Admiral Tributs finishes its mission in the region at the end of October.

There have been around 150 pirate attacks on commercial vessels in the region since the beginning of the year, with over 40 ships captured and at least 270 personnel taken hostage.

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